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How To Reduce Tax on Rental Income: 8 Essential Tips

  • Published: 3 April 2024
  • 15 min read
  • Property, Tax & VAT
How To Reduce Tax on Rental Income: 8 Essential Tips
  • Author Gabi Bellairs-Lombard

    Gabi Bellairs-Lombard

    Business Writer

    Gabi is a content writer who is passionate about creating content that inspires. Her work history lies in writing compelling website copy, now specialising in product marketing copy. Gabi's priority when writing content is ensuring that the words make an impact on the readers. For Osome, she is the voice of our products and features. You'll find her making complex business finance and accounting topics easy to understand for entrepreneurs and small business owners.

Struggling to pay tax bills on your rental earnings? You’re not alone. Many landlords wonder how to avoid paying tax on rental income without breaking the law. This article cuts through the confusion, offering clear, actionable steps to legally reduce your tax liability. Discover the essentials of maximising deductions, savvy structuring, and capitalising on tax allowances. Start transforming your approach to rental taxes today.

Key Takeaways

  • Landlords can reduce rental income tax by maximising deductible expenses such as mortgage interest, property management fees, maintenance, and repairs while carefully navigating changes to tax relief rules.
  • Property ownership structuring, including forming a limited company or joint ownership, can provide significant tax benefits but requires careful consideration of tax implications, future plans, and associated costs.
  • Landlords can minimise their tax liabilities and remain compliant by staying up-to-date with tax obligations, utilising tax bands and allowances, and submitting tax returns on time through strategic income planning.

1 Maximise Deductible Expenditures

Every seasoned landlord knows that minimising tax starts with maximising deductible expenditures. The tax code permits various expenses to be deducted from your rental income, consequently creating substantial savings. These allowable expenses range from:

  • mortgage interest
  • property taxes
  • insurance premiums
  • repairs and maintenance
  • utilities
  • advertising and marketing
  • professional fees (e.g. legal and accounting)
  • property management fees
  • travel expenses related to the rental property
  • fees for gardeners or exterminators, provided they maintain the property’s rental appeal

A meticulous record of all expenses incurred in maintaining your rental business can significantly pare down the amount on your bill when you pay tax on your rental income.

Yet, the art of deduction is not without its nuances. For example, landlords juggling multiple properties can use deductible expenses from one to offset the income from another — a financial balancing act that can lead to a lower taxable income. Expert guidance, such as that from professionals at Osome, is beneficial in identifying all allowable expenses.

Maximise deductible expenditures

Claiming mortgage interest

The formerly simple task of deducting mortgage interest payments from property income has become intricate following changes in tax relief. Since April 2020, landlords have been unable to deduct all their mortgage interest payments directly off the top of their rental income due to the abolition of this once generous income tax relief. Instead, finance costs must be carefully calculated, considering the business use of the property, to determine the deductible amount.

These changes have prompted many landlords to reconsider the structure of their rental property venture, with some contemplating the leap into a corporate entity to mitigate increased tax liabilities and potentially pay corporation tax. For those hesitant to make such a leap, here is a consoling fact: unutilised finance costs can be carried forward, providing a 20% tax credit against future rental income.

Understanding the implications of income tax and corporation tax is crucial for landlords navigating these changes, as it impacts their financial obligations and potential tax liabilities. It's essential for landlords to evaluate their options carefully and seek professional advice to ensure they pay tax efficiently and in compliance with relevant regulations.

Deducting property management fees

Navigating the day-to-day management of a rental property can be demanding, which is why many landlords turn to let agents and property managers. The silver lining? These property management fees are tax-deductible, providing relief for landlords who are already juggling various expenses. Whether it’s the cost of finding new tenants or dealing with midnight plumbing disasters, these fees can be tallied up and deducted from your rental income tax bill, easing the financial burden.

Moreover, the costs for direct services to your tenants, be it maintaining the garden or ensuring the property remains pest-free, are all part of the deductible chorus. So, when you’re balancing the books, remember that these essential services not only keep your tenants happy but also help minimise your taxable income. It's crucial for landlords to understand the nuances of income tax regulations regarding deductible expenses to ensure they pay tax accurately and optimise their financial management. By leveraging these deductions effectively, landlords can streamline their operations and maximise their rental income while fulfilling their tax obligations.

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Maintenance and repairs

The line between ‘maintaining’ and ‘improving’ property can be thin, but it’s a distinction with a difference for tax purposes. Expenses for maintenance and repairs can be fully deducted from your rental income, provided they restore the property to its original condition without enhancing its value. Even the subtle switch from single to double-glazed windows can be considered a repair if the improvement is incidental to the replacement.

For the more mundane items that experience rapid wear and tear—like cutlery and linens—landlords can claim Replacement of Domestic Items Relief, further diminishing the tax burden and improving net profitability. And let’s not forget that all these deductible expenses, from utility bills to professional fees, must serve the exclusive purpose of renting out the property.

2 Structuring Ownership for Tax Efficiency

The structure of your property ownership can play a pivotal role in the tax efficiency of your rental property business. Owning property through a limited company has become an increasingly popular refrain, offering a medley of financial benefits. This structure can provide a shield from personal capital gains tax and mitigate some of the sting from the restriction of mortgage interest tax relief. Additionally, incorporating your rental business can offer advantages in terms of income tax management, as it allows for more flexibility in distributing profits and managing tax liabilities.

However, transferring properties into a limited company shouldn’t be taken lightly. It’s a complex composition that involves careful consideration of:

  • tax implications
  • tax brackets
  • future investment plans
  • costs associated with such a transition

Professional advice is key to navigating this strategic move, ensuring you stay in tune with tax efficiency while adhering to the crescendo of responsibilities and regulations that come with corporate property ownership.

Joint ownership and income splitting

When it seems difficult to afford a rental property single-handed and also to reduce rental income tax, one can buy rental property with fellow investors, such as a rent-a-room hotel. When investing with another person or as a couple, it’s important to know the rental tax records of joint ownership. Rental income tax on any of the partnership members is calculated by summing up all the profit records.

It’s important to note that the refundable security deposit paid by tenants is not added to the taxable rental income, as it will be returned to the tenant. The deposit is only meant to serve as security, and if any wear and tear is caused by the tenant to the property, the deposit amount is used for repairs. Joint ownership can be created with either a spouse or another investor.

Incorporating a limited company

When landlords incorporate their rental property business, they open the door to a suite of benefits that can resonate with their long-term financial goals. Some of these benefits include:

  • Mortgage interest deductions before taxation
  • Rental profits are subject to corporation tax, which can be lower than personal tax rates
  • Offsetting the loss of mortgage repayment deductions for personal landlords with current corporation tax rates

Incorporating your property business can provide significant tax advantages and help you achieve your financial goals.

Nevertheless, incorporating a rental property side hustle or business is not without its upfront costs, including legal fees, potential stamp duty, and the possibility of early redemption fees on existing mortgages. Bear in mind that these companies are subject to specific reporting requirements, and directors have limited personal financial liability except in situations involving personal guarantees.

Tax reliefs such as capital allowances and the Annual Investment Allowance available to limited companies can provide a wealth of tax reduction opportunities, including benefits related to income tax. Still, professional advice is essential to navigate the complexities and ensure they strike the right chord with your investment strategy. Understanding how income tax regulations apply to incorporated rental businesses is crucial for maximising tax efficiency and minimising liabilities.

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3 Utilising Tax Bands and Allowances

As a landlord, your net rental income is the foundation of your tax composition. This figure represents your total rental income after deducting all allowable expenses, reliefs, and allowances, and determines your tax liability, including income tax. With the addition of other income sources, such as your salary, you could find yourself orchestrating a higher overall income, which might grow into a higher tax band and increased tax liability, leading you to pay income tax at a higher rate.

The allowance on property income is a tax-free allowance set at £12,570 for the 2023/24 tax year. This allowance allows landlords to receive a portion of their rental income without having to pay any tax on it. It is an important tool for landlords to master, as it can have a significant impact on their tax bill, including their income tax obligations. Think of it as a conductor's baton that can change the tempo of your tax obligations and ensure you navigate the complexities of income tax efficiently.

Strategic income planning

Understanding the interaction of personal allowances and tax bands is crucial to maintaining a steady rhythm in your tax strategy. Landlords need to devise a strategic income plan, considering annual salary, net rental income, and other incomes to determine the marginal tax band. Doing so allows you to orchestrate your finances to stay within the lower tax bands, avoiding a crescendo into higher tax liabilities, including income tax.

This process, while intricate, is necessary to minimise the impact of taxes on your overall income. Deducting allowable expenses and strategically leveraging tax bands can help achieve a more favourable tax outcome, especially concerning income tax obligations. Seeking professional advice guides you through the complexities of tax planning, ensuring accuracy at every step as you manage your income tax responsibilities effectively. With careful planning and consideration, landlords can harmonise their financial arrangements to optimise tax efficiency and mitigate the burden of income tax liabilities.

Leveraging property income allowance

The property income allowance is a tax measure that can be likened to a grace note in the composition of a landlord’s tax obligations. It allows for up to £1,000 of income from property to be earned tax-free each year. When deciding whether to claim this allowance or to deduct actual expenses, landlords face a strategic decision that plays a significant role in the overall tax strategy, particularly regarding income tax.

If deductible expenses are less than £1,000, choosing the property allowance can be beneficial, offering a larger tax-free portion of rental income and potentially reducing income tax liabilities. However, if deductible expenses exceed the property allowance, deducting these actual expenses is typically more advantageous to reduce the taxable rental income and associated income tax obligations.

Should a landlord realise that claiming the property allowance would have been more beneficial after the fact, there’s a provision for overpayment relief, allowing for a retrospective adjustment within four years of the end of the tax year. Understanding the nuances of such tax measures and their implications for income tax is crucial for landlords to optimise their tax efficiency and minimise their tax liabilities effectively. Seeking professional advice can provide invaluable assistance in navigating these decisions and ensuring compliance with relevant tax regulations.

4 Timely Tax Return Submission

The deadline for submitting your tax return is fixed, so timely tax submission is a crucial part of the process. Late filing starts a cacophony of penalties that get more severe over time, from the immediate fixed penalty to the more serious charges imposed after six and twelve months. Staying in step with the self-assessment tax return deadline of January 31 following the end of the tax year is crucial to avoid these penalties, and landlords must inform HMRC of any untaxed income by October 5 to ensure proper reporting.

Timely tax return submission

Keeping all receipts and records for at least five years after the filing deadline is important. Making interim payments on the account each tax year can help organise your affairs. Moreover, early submissions can offer a prelude to understanding tax liabilities ahead of time and, for the fortunate, can mean receiving tax refunds earlier. By diligently paying tax, you can avoid any potential issues with the tax authorities.

5 Capital Gains Tax Considerations

When the time comes to sell a rental property, the Capital Gains Tax (CGT) becomes a significant part of your tax score. Here are some key points to keep in mind:

  • The CGT annual exempt amount for the 2023/24 tax year is £6,000. This amount can be used to reduce the taxable gain from the sale.
  • The tax rate for CGT is 28% for higher-rate taxpayers and 18% for those in the basic-rate band.
  • The gain is calculated by subtracting allowable costs like stamp duty and fees from the profit from the property’s acquisition.

When calculating their CGT liabilities, joint property owners must work together, with each person’s share of the profit determining their individual tax bill. And for those who have lived in the property as their main residence, PRR can be claimed, reducing the taxable gain for the years the property served as the principal home.

Selling strategies and CGT

To minimise the CGT liability when the curtain falls on your property investment, it’s essential to utilise the annual tax-free allowance to its fullest. Landlords should use this allowance, particularly if they have no other capital gains in the year. Timing is also important in your tax strategy; selling a property later in the tax year could allow basic-rate taxpayers to avoid the jump into a higher tax band.

However, basic-rate taxpayers must be wary of the timing of their property sale. If not managed properly, the capital gain could shift them into a higher tax band, increasing the overall tax liability and escalating a potential mild impact into a major one. To avoid this, it’s crucial to understand when and how to pay capital gains tax.

Private residence relief

Private Residence Relief (PRR) is a tax measure that can significantly reduce CGT for those who have occupied the property as their main residence. To qualify, the owner must have used the property as their primary dwelling for at least two years within the five years before the sale. The relief is calculated based on the proportion of the property that the owner occupied compared to the portion that was let out.

The property must not have been used exclusively for business purposes, and the grounds, including the home, must not exceed 5,000 square meters. For those who’ve orchestrated their property portfolio wisely, selling a rental property that has been their main home can significantly reduce CGT liability through PRR.

Capital gains tax considerations

6 Innovative Rental Approaches

In the ever-evolving landscape of property rental, innovative approaches can offer various tax benefits. On the same note, landlords who look beyond traditional long-term tenancies to explore the realm of short-term rentals or furnished holiday lettings can unlock a suite of tax advantages that complement their business strategy. These innovative rental approaches can add fresh melodies to the rental income tax structure, potentially yielding higher profits and enhanced tax deductions. By diversifying their rental portfolio, landlords can optimise their rental income and reduce their tax bill by strategically managing their properties.

Moreover, investing in property extensions or embracing new buy-to-let mortgage products can lead to tax savings and increased cash flow without facing the discord of heavy stamp taxes. Such innovations can contribute to the overall profitability of the rental business, striking a chord with landlords looking to diversify their portfolios and maximise their returns. By capitalising on these opportunities, landlords can boost their rental income and minimise their tax bill, ensuring they pay income tax efficiently and comply with applicable regulations. Seeking professional advice can further enhance their understanding of these innovative tax strategies and optimise their financial management accordingly.

Serviced accommodation and tax advantages

Serviced accommodation, such as properties listed on platforms like Airbnb, presents lucrative tax benefits. Expenses related to managing service accommodation, including marketing expenditures, housekeeping supplies, and platform service fees, are all eligible for tax deductions. This enables landlords to maintain their properties efficiently for guests while lowering their taxable income. By leveraging these deductions, landlords can optimise their rental income and reduce their tax bill, ensuring they pay income tax efficiently.

Furthermore, investing in energy-efficient upgrades for rental properties can lead to long-term tax savings and environmental benefits. Landlords who install energy-efficient appliances, improve insulation, or upgrade heating and cooling systems may qualify for tax credits or deductions. These measures enhance the value and appeal of the rental property and contribute to lower operating costs and increased rental income. By incorporating eco-friendly features into their rental properties, landlords can simultaneously attract environmentally-conscious tenants and reduce their tax bill, thereby maximising their returns on investment.

Buy-to-let innovations

Staying in tune with the market trends, buy-to-let lenders introduce innovative mortgage products that can amplify the returns on your investment properties. For instance, products like refurbishment buy-lets offer landlords the security of knowing exactly how much capital can be raised if refurbishment work is completed as planned. Furthermore, certain lenders are entering new markets like multi-unit freehold block properties and considering a broader range of rental arrangements, including holiday lets and Airbnb-style properties.

These innovative mortgage products and strategies introduce a fresh approach in the buy-to-let sector, allowing landlords more flexibility and opportunities to increase their rental income. Landlords can orchestrate an even more profitable property business by staying attuned to these developments and considering the tax implications. By optimising their rental properties and leveraging innovative mortgage products, landlords can enhance their rental income while minimising their tax bill, ensuring they pay tax efficiently on their rental income.

Moreover, as landlords explore various strategies to maximise their rental income, it's essential to consider the tax implications of each decision. Whether investing in refurbishment projects to increase property value or diversifying into new rental arrangements such as holiday lets, landlords must carefully assess the potential tax on rental income and strategies to minimise their tax bill. By staying informed about tax regulations and seeking professional advice, landlords can navigate the complexities of rental property taxation and ensure they pay income tax in compliance with applicable laws.

7 Forward-Thinking Loss Adjustment

In the arena of property rental, it's not always smooth sailing. There may be times when landlords face rental losses, which occur when their allowable expenses exceed their income. However, these losses can be carried forward and used to offset future profits. It's like taking a break in a musical score, allowing you to regroup before returning to the crescendo of profitability. Understanding the tax implications of rental losses is crucial for landlords, as it affects their overall tax position and compliance with tax regulations.

These losses must be reported on tax returns, ensuring the ‘loss brought forward’ section is completed in subsequent years until fully utilised. Remember that rental losses from overseas properties cannot be offset against UK property earnings, and vice versa, to maintain the integrity of each property business’s tax obligations. By managing rental losses effectively, landlords can optimise their tax position and ensure they are paying tax appropriately on their rental property income.

Furthermore, as landlords assess their rental property income, it's essential to consider the tax implications of operating within different tax bands. Rental income falls within specific tax bands, with varying rates applied depending on the total income earned. By understanding their tax band and associated rates, landlords can accurately calculate their tax liability and ensure they are paying tax in line with their financial obligations. Staying informed about tax regulations and seeking professional advice can help landlords navigate the complexities of tax on rental income and ensure compliance with tax laws.

8 Legalities and Compliance

Maintaining a positive relationship with tax authorities requires strict adherence to legal and compliance regulations. Misreporting rental income can result in a host of penalties and legal actions, underscoring the importance of precise and timely reporting. Landlords must ensure their tax score is impeccably composed, keeping records of rental income, expenses, and supporting documents to verify the figures reported to tax authorities. Failure to accurately report rental income on a tax return can lead to consequences such as fines or audits, highlighting the significance of adhering to tax regulations when dealing with rental property.

Professional fees, including accountant and legal fees, are part of this compliance ensemble, deductible as long as they relate to lets of a year or less or the renewal of a lease for less than 50 years. As the tax landscape evolves, so does the scrutiny from HMRC, particularly regarding property transfers to limited companies, underscoring the crescendo for precise tax planning and compliance. By understanding the tax implications of different transactions and seeking professional advice when needed, landlords can ensure they are paying tax correctly on their rental income and operating within their appropriate tax band.


The journey through the intricate landscape of minimising tax on rental income ends with a harmonious blend of strategic planning, timely actions, and compliance with the law. Efficient tax planning involves various strategies, such as maximising deductible expenses and innovative rental approaches. Remember, the key to conducting a successful tax strategy is to stay attuned to the ever-changing tax regulations and to seek expert advice when matters become complex.

Let this be the beginning of your success in the property rental industry. With these strategies in your repertoire, you are well-equipped to orchestrate a tax-efficient property business that resonates with your financial goals. Now, go forth and conduct your rental endeavours confidently, knowing you have the tools to minimise your tax liabilities and maximise your returns.

Ensuring accurate reporting of rental profits on your tax return is essential for maintaining compliance with tax laws. By accurately reporting your annual rental income and associated expenses, you can minimise the tax on rental income while maximising your potential rental profits. Staying organised and diligent in record-keeping can streamline the tax reporting process and help you achieve optimal tax efficiency in your rental business. Remember, proactive tax planning and meticulous attention to detail can lead to significant savings and financial success in the rental property market.

Author Gabi Bellairs-Lombard
Gabi Bellairs-LombardBusiness Writer

Gabi is a content writer who is passionate about creating content that inspires. Her work history lies in writing compelling website copy, now specialising in product marketing copy. Gabi's priority when writing content is ensuring that the words make an impact on the readers. For Osome, she is the voice of our products and features. You'll find her making complex business finance and accounting topics easy to understand for entrepreneurs and small business owners.

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  • How can capital gains tax be avoided on buy-to-let property?

    To avoid capital gains tax on a buy-to-let property, consider utilising your tax-free allowance, exploring joint ownership with a spouse, deducting costs, establishing a limited company, and determining eligibility for PRR or letting relief. It's essential to seek expert advice for personalised guidance.

  • How long must you live in a property to avoid capital gains tax UK?

    You must be a resident of the property for the entire period of ownership to avoid CGT in the UK. PRR applies if the property is your primary and only residence.

  • What happens if you don't declare rental income to HMRC?

    Failing to declare rental income to HMRC can result in substantial penalties, potentially up to 200% of the undeclared income. Ensuring all rental income is accurately reported is important to avoid these consequences.

  • How does HMRC know about rental income?

    HMRC can find out about your rental income through stamp duty records, which contain information on all properties bought and sold in the UK. This allows the authorities to keep track of property transactions and the individuals or entities involved.

  • Can I still claim mortgage interest as an expense for my rental property?

    As of April 2020, landlords can no longer deduct all their mortgage interest payments from rental income. Instead, they can calculate finance costs and claim a basic rate tax credit on these expenses.

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